Every CAA Publication (CAP) seems to restart its page numbering when starting a new chapter. Does anyone know why they have decided to do this?

For example, the CAP413. Instead of a logical page number ordering throughout the document, you have to reference it as chapter 4, pg 4 or chapter 5, pg 2.

It makes it very difficult to reference information to others. It also makes navigating as a PDF challenging - many of the CAPs are solely in PDF format. (Often you can only view one page at a time, and it is so easy to get lost in a document which restarts its page ordering).

Is there a reason why the CAA has done this? What would be the formal or best way of referencing a CAP page?


1 Answer 1


That's an artefact of a different era. Before computers were used to create documentation, updating large documents was difficult and expensive. People tried to reduce the workload by using chapter-page numbering. When you have to add pages to a book, chapter-page numbering allows you to replace one chapter instead of having to reprint the whole book.

Some organizations even supplied book updates as individual pages with a 'list of effective pages' so you could swap them out in your copy.

Nowadays there's no reason to keep doing this. Rebuilding a document (generate the TOC and crossreferences) is cheap, printing is cheap. You already noticed the big disadvantages of chapter-page numbering to the user.

Why they're still doing this? Inertia, probably.

How to reference them? Page 5-2 works, and if you want to be comprehensive, page 5-2 (PDF page 124).

(sorry, no references. Just lots of experience building large documents)

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think the UK government invented inertia. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 10, 2020 at 7:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yep the CAA are perhaps the most backward government department technologically. I have it on fairly good authority that their very delayed "new computer system" is to replace an old system using Win95 terminals. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Jul 10, 2020 at 8:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GdD Unfortunately, Newton didn't take over the Royal Mint until a decade after inventing inertia. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2020 at 17:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @GdD: If you think that's amusing, you'll love this: In October, the United States Air Force announced that it had worked out how to launch a nuclear missile(!) without using 8-inch floppy disks. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Jul 10, 2020 at 20:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Kevin in their defence, if there’s one system I really don’t want to be screwed up after an “improvement”, the nuclear launch system is probably it. Relying on an old system has downsides, but the upside is: it’s worked for 50 years, and it’s likely to keep working for another 20... $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Jul 10, 2020 at 22:01

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